Al Shaw's life revolves around motor racing and his back country junkyard, the "Smash Palace". His French wife, Jacqui, doesn't appreciate the lack of attention due to Al's obsession with ... See full summary »
Anna Maria Monticelli,
In San Francisco in 1850, a Russian Countess runs away from an arranged marriage to a Russian Prince and falls into the arms of an American sea captain who occasionally poaches seals in Russian Alaska.
The "Satans" are a very cruel biker gang led by Anchor. The gang goes to a diner in the middle of nowhere in the California desert where they begin to terrorize Lew and his patrons and his ... See full summary »
John 'Bud' Cardos
Peter Fonda plays 'Heavenly Blues', the leader of the Angels, a motorcycle gang from San Pedro, California; Bruce Dern plays 'Loser', his best pal. When they both botch their attempt to retrieve Loser's stolen bike, Loser ends up in the hospital. When the Angels bust him out, he dies, and they bury him. Nancy Sinatra plays Mike, Blues' "old lady" and Diane Ladd plays Loser's wife (Dern's real-life wife at the time). The plot is basically a buildup to the last half-hour of the film in which Loser's funeral becomes another wild party.Written by
That's what it seemed like ''way back in 1966. Producer Roger Corman set out to make a film based on the notorious California-Based ''Hell's Angels'' motorcycle gang, having seen a cover story about them in Life Magazine.Legendary ''B'' movie studio, American International Pictures was just as anxious to jump on the ''Biker Bandwagon'' (they eventually produced or distributed eleven more films on this subject) and gave the OK to Corman. Though George Chakiris (''West Side Story'' Oscar Winner) was originally cast in the lead role, it was Peter Fonda who ended up playing the part. Playing his ''Old Lady'' was Nancy Sinatra, who was then riding high with her hit single ''These Boots Are Made For Walkin'.Bruce Dern played ''The Loser'' the part originally intended for Fonda, and Dern's then wife Diane Ladd portrayed his on-screen spouse. There were a few familiar faces among the supporting actors as well, including Gayle Hunnicutt, in an early appearance, and Assistant Director Peter Bogdonavich, who is glimpsed in the climactic brawl,as is Corman himself. The story itself is really just a loosely connected series of incidents which allow the viewer to follow the ''Angel's'' exploits as if they were viewing a Documentary about the gang. Since ''The Wild One''aside, this was the film that started the whole ''Cycle'' cycle, it's not surprising that it has a very experimental feel to it.The location photography is excellent, and belies the brief three week shooting schedule, while the musical score written by future AIP Biker music stalwart (and future Lieutenant Governor) Mike Curb, is dynamic and fits the visuals like a glove. The same goes for the group (''Davie Allan And The Arrows'') who perform it. In fact ''Blues Theme'' was a hit single for the group, and the Soundtrack Album proved so popular that a second volume was released. Both records, in fact, started the ''Motorcycle Soundtrack'' craze, most of which were released on Curb's ''Tower/Sidewalk'' labels, a Capitol Records affiliate during the 60's. The actors themselves are not given much opportunity to spread their wings and fly, so to speak, but, under the circumstances, they do all right. Dern is especially convincing as ''The Loser'' and Ladd evokes the sympathy her character calls for. Fonda is a bit weak as ''Heavenly Blues'' the leader, but Sinatra makes a pretty tough ''Momma'' and though her natural beauty is downplayed, she is still very easy on the eyes.Upon it's release, the low-budget film proved enormously popular (AIP'S biggest hit so far) and convinced them to launch a whole series of ''Protest'' films. (A wise decision on their part, because they kept the studio in the profit margin for years to come). The Biker genre would have it's share of hits and misses, and, thanks to a few Poverty-Row, independent productions like ''The Hellcats'' ''The Rebel Rousers'' and ''The Cycle Savages'' (starring Dern) all of which made this one seem fairly lavish by comparison, it had petered out by the early seventies. Nevertheless, ''The Wild Angels'' and a few successors like ''Devil's Angels'' and ''Born Losers'' (both released in 1967) remain among the most popular''B'' films of their era.
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